Ode to Abstract Expression at the Earlville Galleries

This fall, three artists will fill the Earlville Galleries with bold, colorful pieces full of movement. Andrea Deschambeault-Porter merges elements of Cubism with themes of ancestry, inheritance, and political strife in her works, while ceramic artist Vartan Poghosian creates fanciful clay vessels, some of them adorned with mottled, many-layered glazes. And bridging the divide between sculpture and pottery, Rebecca Murtaugh creates richly textured geometric forms painted with reclaimed house paint. The exhibits run September 5 through October 31.

Left to right: works by Rebecca Murtaugh, Vartan Poghosian and Andrea Deschembault-Porter

Left to right: “Aperture” by Rebecca Murtaugh, “Toxic Blue” by Vartan Poghosian and “Studio” by Andrea Deschambeault-Porter

Deschambeault-Porter, who hails from the Catskills region, studied at SUNY Purchase and Syracuse University, with a year abroad in Venice Italy. Her works combine representational aspects with an overall abstract design, incorporating such tropes as antique picture frames, human silhouettes, and natural imagery. She expertly uses strong black forms, including silhouettes, to create interesting negative space on the canvas, filling the expanse with bright swatches of color, snippets of pattern, or iconic forms. “If I am lucky, I find myself somewhere unexpected, losing myself along the way,” writes Deschambeault-Porter. “Painting cultivates this experience—a kind of attentiveness, which has its own kind of knowledge, whereby forgetting and finding make way for creating and discovering.”

Born in Armenia, Poghosian fell in love with crystalline glazes—those glazes that form glassy, translucent crystals on the surface of fired clay—and has been experimenting ever since. “The creation all started when I came across a picture of a vase fired with crystalline glaze,” says Poghosian. “I thought whatever I was looking at was well worth researching. Since then, I have been developing these glazes with several, very beautiful results.” Poghosian owns and operates 4 Elements Studio in Utica, and teaches glazing workshops there.

Murtaugh, who grew up in Philadelphia and now teaches at Hamilton College, re-appropriates the names of the cast-off paint colors she chooses as titles for her works, such as “Fusion and Radish,” a vivid chartreuse and red number, or “Shrimp and Grandview,” featuring shades of pinky-beige and blue. She mixes the paint with a solidifier to create texture before applying it to the forms she builds, which range from tabletop to floor-sized. “I want the viewer to be inquisitive and to have a sense of wonder,” she says. “If something is interesting I’ll pursue it.”

A reception for the artists will be held on Saturday, September 12th from 6-7:30 pm. The exhibits will run through October 31st. Gallery hours are 10-5 Tuesday-Friday and 12-3 on Saturdays. Admission is free, and the Galleries are wheelchair-accessible with a ramp and a lift. For more information, call 315-691-3550 or visit www.earlvilleoperahouse.com. The Earlville Galleries are located at 18 East Main Street, in Earlville, NY.

Exhibits are made possible, in part, with public funds from the NYS Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the NYS Legislature, and through the generosity of EOH members.

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